COVIDiares: From quranteasing to pandemic pleasing

If you’re an avid reader of my blog then you’ll know that I started COVID-eo dating a guy that I met on Hinge back around mid-March (here is the post for reference.) Nine weeks in I wrote another piece giving a quick update on how things were going and bringing to light some of my “what if” questions in advance of us (eventually) meeting face to face. It’s now been just over 3 months, so with lockdown eased up and 12 video dates later… you better believe we finally met in the flesh! Hurrah!

It’s been an interesting journey so far, particularly with the video dating aspect as that was completely new territory for me. Sharing a similar story with many others, lockdown introduced a shift in the dating landscape where users had to turn towards platforms such as FaceTime or Zoom in order to connect with potentials. While some may have found it awkward or simply put their dating lives on pause, I found the experience to be very enjoyable and fulfilling. I certainly didn’t expect to be “dating” anyone during lockdown, let alone for so many weeks! My initial thought was that perhaps I’d have a couple of video dates before it gradually fizzling out.

Recap

From the get go I noticed straight away that our conversations naturally flowed with lots of laughter. Our dates quickly became a weekly thing, we were both comfortable and I found myself feeling more at ease with him as the weeks went by. It was nice to see his personality shine through via video, I felt like I managed to get a lot more out of this method of communication as opposed to messaging or a phone call; the interactions and facial expressions made a huge difference in building this connection. Another thing I appreciated was how open we were with each other; by sharing thoughts on how our date went, what we enjoyed and what we liked about each other — it was helpful to know that we were on the same page. The most impressive part above all, was the consistent effort put in from both sides, not only did we have our once-a-week dates but there was plenty of chit chat, banter and silly games in-between. It’s fair to say that he made lockdown a little more bearable for me.

First (not video) date

Our first date took place last Tuesday and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling slightly nervous beforehand (and I’m not usually the nervous type!) No doubt it was more nerves of excitement than anything else. I mean with 3 months worth of build up and anticipation of seeing each other (especially during the last couple of weeks), the suspense was killing me slowly. In the back of my mind, I was confident that there’d be no awkwardness nor would we be any different to how we were over our Zoom calls. We were lucky to have sunshine for our park “drinkies” date (it rained for the rest of the week) so I kept my outfit fairly casual, I chucked on a t-shirt, skirt, trainers and my oversized glam sunglasses. 😎

I arrived at the meeting spot a few minutes earlier and dropped him a message… eeeek! The funniest part was when he messaged back saying he was couple of minutes away and asked me to send my location. Not long after, I noticed a little old man following Google Maps on his phone, heading directly towards me! Hahaha! Just so you know, that wasn’t him! But the next guy walking towards me definitely was! I had a quick scan of his outfit (standard procedure): casual check shirt, black jeans and vans — yeah, he got my stamp of approval for his park ensemble ✅ As he walked towards me, I couldn’t help but laugh, it felt kinda bizarre…in a positive way!

Getting our flirt on

Now I’m gonna to be straight and say that we broke the social distancing rules! I don’t think it even occurred to us because we went in for a hug and he gave me a kiss on the cheek. You know how I mentioned us being comfortable during our Zoom calls? It felt exactly the same except this time there was no laptop screen between us. We started chatting and I was tempted to link onto his arm… although on second thought, it was probably a bold move to make so early on! Didn’t want him to think I was a weirdo 🙈 Once we found a nice spot, I could feel the chemistry between us which wasn’t surprising as we’d been quite flirty during our dates. With so much eye contact, laughter and a few touchy feely moments… it seemed like we just clicked. Within an hour and a few G&Ts later, we were sat so ridiculously close together to the point where I thought “fuck it” and went in for a snuggle. At one point during our date, he was lying down on his front so I could crack his back 😂 Yeah I don’t know where that randomly came from… Anyway! Things turned up a notch as we placed a bet; basically if I lost then I had to give him a kiss (oldest trick in the book!) Firstly I’ll have you know that I won the bet. He’ll tell you otherwise because he’s a soo competitive. Either way, I wanted that kiss so was willing to take the “loss”. FYI – he’s a great kisser!

With all the fun and games going on; there was one thing we didn’t think through… public toilets! They were all bloody closed. I’m still confused about it until this day. Why do that? After dragging the poor guy around in circles, feeling confident that at least one set of toilets would be open, I was very wrong… and far from impressed. Luckily for him, he did his thing in a bush — that’s one advantage to having a penis. Unfortunately I wasn’t planning to water any plants so I made us Uber over to my sisters house, thank God she didn’t live too far and he probably thought I was such a diva at this point.

Hehe ;D

We continued on with our date at a local park and popped open the bottle prosecco we had left 🥂🍾 Up until the sun went in, we chilled, people watched, conversed and weren’t hiding the fact that we were checking each other out… a lot. Considering no restaurants or bars were open, he offered to make me dinner at his. Yeah I know what you’re thinking, and no, I didn’t think his only intention was to get me into bed.

After whipping up a meal with a glass of wine each we continued chatting. Eventually he swooped in and made the move. The kisses were fiery, I felt his hands running from my waist and up my skirt. As we continued kissing, he lifted me up and put me on the dining table. We were ready to go for it, however I wasn’t about to have sex on the table with his flatmate in the house! So we moved things into the bedroom and to be honest, for our first sex session, I had no complaints whatsoever. Them broad shoulders though, the strong facial hair, with a dominant streak and good balance of aggression and gentleness. I’d describe him as a proper manly man — in general and under the sheets. I ended up staying the night but we didn’t get much sleep. 😏

Discovering each other on an intimate level, showing each other’s bedroom tricks as well as having those cute, affectionate post-sex moments, the little kisses, the snuggles, the stroking, the spooning — it was all pleasurable. The next day we both had work so after some morning cuddles followed by intense sex I had to head off early but if we could have stayed in bed together, there’d be no question about it.

Second date?

Overall, the “first” date was memorable. Believe it or not, we’ve already had our second date involving coffee, a stroll with a few hugs and kisses. The lockdown phase put us in a position where we had to make the best out of an unusual situation. Personally speaking, I think having those 12 weeks to build a connection without the physical side of things was a blessing in disguise. I was quite guarded and slightly judgemental towards him at first but as I got to know him on a deeper level, I found him even more attractive in personality and appearance. I guess we were fortunate enough to have gotten along really well from day one, I’m particularly pleased that our virtual dates had translated in real life. From what I’ve witnessed so far, he seems like a really sound guy so I’ll have to see what happens! I promise to keep you posted folks!

From “DTR” to “DTF”. This is your 2020 Dating Dictionary.

Swiping your way to be the real thing, or next fling, has left many people understandably bamboozled and frustrated. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. As the dating landscape has evolved, so has the language; especially when we’re focusing on the language of millennials. So to help navigate your way through the modern dating world, I’ve collated a handy little list on some of the latest terms, phrases and acronyms.

Benching
Think of sports. When you’re on the bench, you’re not actually playing but you’re still on the team, ready and waiting… until the coach decides to bring you back into play – which might not happen. The person who chose to bench someone will make minimal effort to keep you as an available option. This means a few texts here and there, making plans to meet up that never come to fruition.

Breadcrumbing
Now I don’t know if this dating tactic is slightly “better” or worse than “Ghosting”. Either way, it’s a term used when someone is doing exactly what I’ve described in my last two sentences above. Think morsels of bread… a trail of them. Each morsel representing a tiny slice of attention, ie. likes on Instagram photos, maybe a comment if you’re lucky, sporadic flirty text messages, making vague plans with you, setting up a date and cancelling, appears then reappears weeks later like nothing, usually an individual that’s all talk and no action. Breadcrumbs are for the birds – and you’re not one of them!

Catfishing
Personally I find this one creepy. It is the act of someone creating a fake profile to trick people into thinking they are somebody else. This sort of deception can be extremely damaging for victims. The dangers of being catfished include being tricked into a false relationship, fraud, extortion and cyberbullying among others. These people clearly have issues.

Cushioning
I’d describe this like… taking out insurance on your relationship incase it doesn’t work out and you’re scared of being alone. In essence, you’re creating a “cushion” for yourself to fall on. It can be one or several cushions. The tactic is getting people interested in you by having a chat or flirt, you’re building them up and giving them hope that something may occur in the future. Those who fall in the trap don’t even realise that there’s another person in the picture in the first place. It’s dishonest, disrespectful, and it’s something that emotionally insecure people do.

DTF
Down to Fuck. Need I say anymore?

DTR
Define the Relationship

FWB
Friends with Benefits

Gaslighting
It’s a form of psychological manipulation that causes the other party to question or doubt his or her sanity, feelings and judgment. The warning signs are hard to pick up early on but generally the people who do the gaslighting will be habitual and pathological liars. They will blatantly lie to your face and never back down or change their stories even when you call them out. They will also shift blame, twist conversations and be sweet when they want to smooth over a bad situation that they’ve caused. Sickos.

Ghosting
Now you see me, now you don’t. A person who ghosts will simply disappear from a relationship, or even a potential relationship with no explanation because it’s a quick and easy way out. No drama, no questions asked, no need to justify their behaviour, no need to deal with someone else’s feelings. Which brings me to the next term…

Haunting
When the person who was initially ghosting comes back to haunt you. The audacity!
Out of nowhere, they’ll (usually) slide into your DMs on social media and hit you up with the “Hey stranger!” bollocks – they just want to remind you they’re still there and very much alive. 😒

Kittenfishing
I’d describe this as a low-grade version of “Catfishing”. This person is excellent at presenting themselves unrealistically on their dating profile. With their skilled use of Adobe Photoshop, they’ll put up their heavily edited or upload old ass, throwback photos. They might lie about their age, height, lifestyle… all to seem more appealing to their matches.

So there you have it! The lingo of online dating, in a nutshell. Noticeably more absurd words and phrases are being introduced to explain each and every terrible occurrence. I’m sure there’s a good handful of jargon missing from my list (I think I’ve barely scratched the surface) but nonetheless I hope you found this post useful, if not amusing!

I would rather adjust to your absence than be frustrated by your presence.

Generally I’m a logical thinker but when it comes to matters of the heart, sometimes it’s hard to override feelings and emotions. Even when you have the answers right in front of you. I met my last partner on OKCupid which was a pleasant surprise because that dating app is seriously trash! You find all sorts of people on there, I’d say it’s marginally better than Plenty of Fish (which is bloody horrendous!) – but to be fair, I only utilised OKCupid as fodder for my old dating blog.

Anyway, I wanted to give an account on my journey with this guy. I’ve tried my best to condense the story down but it’s difficult with the amount of drama that took place! This is a story of love, lies and deception.

To start with and for context, here’s some fluff around my dating history: I’m someone who doesn’t really have a “type” as such. For me it’s about personality and compatibility. Of course there needs to be an element of attraction towards the person (online dating is about swiping left or right based on photos after all) but looks and appearance are certainly not my priority. In my eyes, you can go from hot to fucking not in an instant if your personality sucks ass.

I started dating from when I was 16 and looking back, what I realised with most of my long-term relationships was that I always ended up being the alpha female… which is not a bad thing, it just wasn’t ideal with the guys I was dating at the time! The alpha female thing is likely due to the nature of my personality and upbringing. I have a lot of strong women with very bold personalities in my family. On the flip side, I also recognised that being young and naive once upon a time meant tolerating a lot of bullshit and excusing people’s absurd behaviours/attitudes.

Skipping a few years forward… I grew up, matured and like to think I have my head screwed on properly now. I embraced being free and single, it enabled me to enjoy my own company, spend quality time with family and friends, learn about myself, people and relationships. When I hit my mid-20s, I started to consider dating again (basically after retirement from clubbing!) I got into a relationship with a guy from work, it lasted just under a year, then broke that off as he was far too needy! I then remained single for 2 years (excluding the FWB situation… but I’ll discuss that drama in a separate post) and it was probably the most enjoyable 2 years of my life. Then I decided to get back on the dating scene once again… and a few swipes later, I met him.

*cue dramatic music*

When we matched and first spoke, we instantly clicked. After our first date, it became hours upon hours of talking, we had so much in common! He was super nice, charming, funny, very responsive, had an amazing career, close to his family, intelligent, held the same values… literally he was ticking all the boxes one by one. I won’t lie, in my head I was thinking, “wow, this might be the one!” – and anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t even believe in that crap! Let me tell you now. Ticking all the boxes??? It’s a myth and a big, fat red flag!

A few incredible dates later, we found ourselves naturally slipping into a relationship. The more time we spent together, the more boxes he continued ticking… (a myth!!!) he was chivalrous, romantic, thoughtful, generous, protective, always picked me up and dropped me home. Honestly, the list went on! I was treated like royalty and I’d never experienced any guy like this one. You know when you hear these stories about people meeting someone online and the next thing you know, they’re all settled down, married with kids? That is some serious luck right there… but the way our relationship was going, I really thought I may have been one of those lucky people. On top of that, I don’t even like the idea of marriage or kids, but with him, it felt so different. We were in tune with each other on every level, I could only describe what we had as a soulmate kind of connection. Or what felt like it at the time!

So at this point, dating apps were obviously a thing of the past, love was in the air, we were happy, the future was becoming a topic of discussion, everything was fantastic!

Until they weren’t.

Almost 4 months in, my gut instinct suddenly started to kick in out of nowhere. Something felt odd. The thing about my intuition is that I can never tell if it’s actually intuition or I’m confusing it with paranoia (occasionally happens when my brain decides to overthink/over analyse). It was around 1:00am on a Saturday, I really struggled to sleep… I was up thinking about how vague he had been with some of his responses in our conversations and how he had no presence at all on social media. Before you say anything, yes – most people would say that’s a red flag (not having any social media) but I personally know people who aren’t fond of it so I kind of get it if there’s a preference to live your life in private. However, this feeling was not going away, so I had to do some research…

Not long later, there it was. Looking right at me. A photo of him, a woman (his ex, I presumed) and a child. I also found out a few other things he failed to mention.

After this fucking bombshell, I had to give myself a couple of hours to absorb the information and figure out how I was going to approach it. Ugh, the audacity!! Not only did I tell him from the first date that men with children was one of my deal breakers, but I also cannot stand dishonesty. Nonetheless, remaining calm and collected was the only way to be at this moment.

Around 6:00am, we spoke over the phone. I called him out. He chose to deny having a child at first (wow), then admitted it, then had the cheek to try and get me off the phone. But I gladly did because I was fucking knackered and couldn’t be asked to hear any more of his shit! To think he had referred to his son as his “nephew” before I found out. How wrong is that?!

A couple of days later with no contact, he wanted to talk face to face and lay all his cards out on the table. I gave him the opportunity to say his piece. He confessed to many things including his child, his living situation, the situation with his ex, some stuff about his family, blocking me on social media to prevent me from finding out!!! He then went on to explain why he lied and pleaded for forgiveness. I asked him whether there was anything else to reveal, he said no. Then I had done the most unexpected, out of character move – I gave him another chance. Yes! I know.

I admit, my “weakness” is that I have a lot of empathy for people which means I’m extremely forgiving and will always give a person the benefit of the doubt.

Now, with my trust at 0% and paranoia up at 100%, it was only ever gonna go in one direction right? Agreed. So what in the hell was I thinking giving him another shot? Heart over head… it happens, what else can I say? As time went by, we bickered a lot, I questioned him about his honesty, and every so often I’d ask if he had anything else to tell me. He swore on mine and his child’s life that that there wasn’t anything left to tell. He promised he’d never lie again. Then guess what? I found out he was lying…again. This time about something as stupid, small and unnecessary as smoking. The craziest thing is that he repeated the same behaviour! Denied it, then admitted to it. Why? Why not just admit it? I never understood the smaller lies, it was completely mind boggling to me.

So to summarise his behaviour so far: he lied straight my face, he denied the truth, he broke his promises and happily said anything (i.e. swear on mine and his child’s life) to ensure he was in the clear.

Now is the part when you’ll cuss me down or express some form of disappointment because I gave him a 3rd and final chance 🤦🏻‍♀️ (final chance, believe me, it really was!)

As we continued our relationship, I noticed some changes in him. He was less vague, he seemed a lot more comfortable, he was very open with everything and I could see he was working hard to earn my trust back. After so much tension and negative energy between us, it kind of felt like things were slowly starting to improve. We spent more time together, we took lovely trips away, we were laughing a lot more, it felt like “us” again. Unfortunately this didn’t last very long… because something else started bothering me.

I hadn’t met any of his friends or family yet! He always discussed introducing me, he even gave me dates but it never came to fruition. He pushed the date back then would always try to avoid discussing or cut the conversation short whenever I brought the topic up. Naturally, my suspicions were turned on full blast and my intuition was kicking in again. Was this motherfucker married? Engaged? What the fuck was he hiding now?

New Years Eve – we argued. After a weekend away – we argued. It was getting extremely tiring. My patience was wearing thin and I was fed up of having this constant feeling of paranoia/anxiety/irritation. A day after one of our arguments, I’m not sure what came over me (but I’m almost certain it was the power of prayer), I decided to do some further research on him. And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

He was lying about his age the whole damn time.

At his point, I finally took off those rose tinted glasses! This was the moment my brain found its way back into my head and I had the biggest epiphany you could ever imagine. It was like all the things I was in denial about suddenly surfaced and overflowed to the top. The mask had dropped… and this manipulative, insecure, controlling, mentally unstable and selfish person was revealed. Who the hell was this guy??? I felt sorry for him if anything. And as crazy as it sounds, I even started to feel curious. With my interest in human behaviour and psychology – I found myself Googling things like: “Signs of a pathological or compulsive liar” and “What causes people to be pathological or compulsive liars” – it was very interesting! Oh and by the way… I obviously done all this research after I broke up with him!

Of course, I ended things immediately. I dropped the text and blocked him. I didn’t want to see the guy, I didn’t want to speak to the guy, I didn’t want to give him a chance to explain. I just needed this toxic energy out of my life for good.

A couple days later, I got a text from a random number. It was a request to unblock him so he could arrange something. I already knew what he was going to say. I had one of his hoodies at mine and he wanted it back. Of course he did. 🙄
The arrangement was that I’d leave it in a bag outside my house at 8:30pm and he’d come and collect it. Great, sorted! I blocked him again. Except that he wanted to be spiteful towards me… so I received another text with attitude and pure rudeness. He stated that he was going to return all my gifts and cards. I told him to throw it all in the bin but he insisted on giving them back to me. Sure, whatever. I’ll throw it in the bin myself then. I can’t say I really cared too much at this point. Although, I did care about my own safety so I had to call in some muscle (aka. a couple of my guy friends) to protect me! LOL! I mean… I did’t really know who he was anymore so I wasn’t sure what he’d be capable of! Anyway, he took his hoodie back, I took the bag of stuff (which came with an apology letter) and no one got hurt – thankfully!

The next morning, I received a text. It was only him again. This time he was acting erratic. He wanted my gifts and cards back. 🙄🙄🙄 He’s lucky I hadn’t throw them away yet! I told him to stop acting crazy, sent one final (firm but fair) message and gave him a window to take the stuff back. He sent me a very, very long text, I read it a few times and then deleted it… along with everything else that reminded me of him. I shredded all his cards, deleted photos of us, threw stuff in the bin. Oh, I forgot to mention – in the text, he asked me to meet him on a certain day, at a certain time and place. I know what he was doing… it was a manipulative move from him to say the least. I never showed up. I’m the kind of person that when I say I’m done. I’m done. It would be a miracle if you think you could change my mind.

3 weeks had gone by since the break up, I came home from work one day and saw a letter posted through my door. He requested to meet me again. I figured I may as well tell him to his face… perhaps he’ll get the message then. We met, he spoke mostly… and I was very direct about how I felt. It was a long night. He asked me to give him a final chance and to think about it. A couple days later, I told him where I was at.

In summary, I was over it all. I wanted us both to move on. I forgave him and wished him well but there was no chance of reconcilliation. I had nothing left for him. No love, no respect, no trust. I told him that he needed to sort his head out, find happiness within, start being honest with people and set himself free. I asked that he never contacted me again.

And that was the chapter closed. I’ve never heard from him since.


Lessons learned

It wasn’t until this relationship that I truly understood the power of honesty/dishonesty. I’ve been lied to before but never to this extent. I’ve always been an honest person, bar the little white lies before (but who doesn’t tell little white lies?) I can’t express how being upfront and honest saves you so much time and energy! Why on earth would someone chose to put themselves through the process of lying then having to remember and keep up with all of their wild stories. It’s an effort! And how can people lie with so much ease – not feeling any guilt or remorse for the other party involved. There’s no morals whatsoever.

This relationship was definitely a “whirlwind romance” – it came as fast as it had gone, but as I’ve said, I always learn, and in this case, I’ve taken away an incredible amount. Call it a blessing in disguise. I’m thankful I got myself out sooner than later, had I not followed my intuition, I would still be with him and he would still be lying to me right this second.

I felt at ease walking away knowing that I tried, I gave it my all, I never lost my composure and that my intentions were always pure. I’m proud of myself for knowing my value and worth and I’m happy that I put my needs and mental wellbeing first. In hindsight, I should have left from when I discovered the first lie as it was major! But obviously, when you’re in your feelings, things do become blurred. Unfortunately for some, it leads to so much damage! Situation like these can take its toll on your confidence, happiness, other relationships, lifestyle and health (physical/mental). I’ve seen and heard it happen with many people – cases that were a lot worse than mine! When you settle and/or accept certain behaviours, you end up sacrificing yourself by going through absolute hell and back, then once you’re back, you spend a lot of time in your head trying to convince yourself it’ll get better… and the cycle continues.

My experience from being with a compulsive liar has helped me realise what early red flags to look out for (and hopefully I won’t need to even consider red flags in future). It’s important to follow your intuition, always be honest as a person (it’ll make life easier), always forgive no matter what (you owe yourself freedom) and never give up hope. There really are so many people out there that will fit the bill! Never change your goal posts for others, never settle for less than what you deserve. Make sure you talk to friends and family – because they will be your eyes when you’re unable to see clearly. As a final note from me…

Life is far too short to waste time and energy on things, situations or people that don’t serve you. And trust me when I say that self-love is the first step to finding true love and happiness.